Like all technologies, social media comes with advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to the effects of social media on teenagers, these advantages and disadvantages are especially important.
Positive platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat can prove to be lifesavers for teens who are feeling lonely or marginalized, especially LGBTQ teens. Additionally, social media made adolescents feel connected and less alone during the outbreak.
However, the effect of social media on teens is also a major threat to mental wellbeing. Particularly, depression and social media are inextricably connected. In addition, the excessive use of apps can expose teenagers to body image, cyberbullying issues, and technology issues and lead to a lesser time to engage in actual, positive activities. Although most parents think they are aware of the content their child posts on social media, as per the findings of a Pew Research poll, a study of teens revealed that 70% of them hide their online activities from their parents.We will be discussing more about Negative Impact of Social Media on Youth
The Impact of Social Media on Teenagers in the Pandemic
Teens and Social Media are a healthy combination, or is the use of social media affect teens’ wellbeing? What is the reason social media is bad? It’s one of the most controversial issues regarding the negative impact of social media on youth research has shown varying outcomes, including the latest research into the use of social media in the epidemic.
In a report published in 2021 from Common Sense Media on social media’s impact on teens, approximately half of the 1500 young people who were surveyed believed that social media is essential for them to receive advice and support and feel less lonely and be creative, and also to stay in touch with relatives and friends even when disconnecting. Most respondents said using social media helps people feel better when they’re feeling distressed or stressed. In the case of LGBTQ teens, 52 percent of them said that social media makes people feel more relaxed when feeling these emotions.
On the other hand, the study entitled “Coping in COVID-19 The Way Young People used Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health” also showed a significant link between social media and teenagers experiencing depression. Children with moderate to severe depression were two times as likely to claim they used social media often: One-third of those with depression were reported to use social media regularly compared to just 18 percent of teenagers who didn’t have depression symptoms. Additionally, the more severe their symptoms and the more stressed and lonely they felt using social media. Social media is not helping teenagers who already feel depressed and can increase their anxiety and depression.
Studies in Social Media and Teen Depression The Reasons Social Media Can Be Bad for Mental Health
Do you think social media is part of the reason why depression among teens has dramatically increased in the past decade? Research studies of US teens show that depression and suicide rates increased significantly between the years 2010 and 2015. and particularly for females. Some researchers suggest that the growth in social media usage and the use of screens in general between those years could be the reason for these shifts. The teenagers polled who were more active using social media were more likely to be diagnosed with mental health concerns. People who spent more time with non-connected activities, like social interactions in person or sports, exercising homework, and printed media, were less likely to discuss these issues.
In the last ten years, the theory has been confirmed by many studies that have linked teens using social media with an increase in depression in teens. The studies have shown an increase in teens’ usage of social networks directly relates to the quality of their health. For instance, in the study from the year 2018, teenagers aged 14 to 17 who were on social media for seven hours a day were nearly twice more likely to be admitted to a depression clinic, seen by psychiatrists, or taken medication for a mental or behavioral problem in the past year. The study was conducted compared to people who used screens just an hour per day.
Many experts think that the continuous overload of social networks changes the brain’s nervous system to”fight-or-flight” mode. In turn, this causes disorders like ADHD and depression in teens, oppositional defiant disorders, and anxiety among teens more severe. But, some studies on the relationship between the link between depression and social media indicate that the causality runs oppositely. I.e., when teens suffer from depression, they are more likely to check their social media accounts frequently. In an investigation that included 600 teenagers, researchers discovered that social media users did not correlate with depression symptoms. Still, more depressive symptoms were linked to greater use of social media over time.
Additional Psychological Impacts on the Social Media on Young People
A recent study conducted by researchers from University College London tracked three years of use of social media by 13,000 teenagers beginning when they turned 13. Teens also reported their experiences with social media and their mood and overall wellbeing.
After collating the data, researchers concluded that three key elements drive the influence of social media and get free dom on teens:
- Insufficient sleep–teens kept up late to browse Facebook and Twitter feeds
- Exposure to cyberbullying–having harmful, false, or private content about them posted on social media
- Inactivity–scrolling Facebook and other social networks on phones and other devices meant that teens were seated for longer durations of time and had less time to exercise. In the end, they could not benefit from the positive impact exercise has on mental wellbeing.
Based on the research presented in Lancet 27, percent of teens who utilized social media reported high levels of psychological stress. For teens who utilized social media less often, only 17 percent reported psychologically high stress.
The Effects of the Social Media on the Youth’s Social Comparison
One of the ways that social media can affect teens’ psychological health can be through social comparisons, or what is known as media psychology Don Grant, Ph.D., Newport Director of Outpatient Services calls “compare and despair.” Teenagers on social media tend to spend a lot of their time watching the lives and posts that their friends have. It can result in endless comparisons that could harm self-esteem and appearance, exacerbating depression and anxiety in teens.
Like other types of social interaction, teens experience lower self-esteem and self-evaluation when they look at their peers on social media websites. This is, for example, checking out profiles where people post photos of their loved ones, social occasions, or achievements. -looking at profiles of peers with fewer friends and achievements. According to a Pew Research Center report on the negative impact of social media on youth , 26,26% of teens feel that these sites cause them to feel less confident in their lives.
The article reads, “Teen mental health and social comparison theory.”
The negative psychological effects of Social Media on Teenage Body Image
Body image is a major aspect in which teenage social competition can trigger negative feelings. When teens compare themselves to edited and filtered photos of their peers and famous people, they frequently feel like they are unworthy. This may lead to less self-esteem and a negative image. Additionally, Facebook use has also been associated with the chance of developing anxiety disorders.
According to a poll conducted by Common Sense Media:
- 35 percent of teens who use social media are concerned about posting photos that aren’t attractive
- 27 percent of people are anxious about their appearance when they upload photos
- Twenty-two percent of people feel embarrassed about their image when no one comments on or “likes” their pictures.